1. Update your resume
Make sure your resume is up to date. Include how many beds were on your units, did your facility have any specialties (i.e., Level 1 Trauma Center, comprehensive cardiac and stroke care)? Any charge or leadership experience? Etsy has some great options for resume templates you should consider checking out.
Blue pipes can help you with resume verbiage and formatting. It’s another fantastic resource for travel nursing.
2. Get a cloud account
I use DropBox and Cam Scanner to ensure all my certifications (ACLS, BLS, NIHSS, PALS, etc.) are always at my fingertips. Titers, vaccinations, references, resume, RN license(s), and any documents you will need to submit for onboarding need to be uploaded to your cloud. Keep your car registration, insurance cards, and any valuable information you may need to access while traveling in there as well. Picking up copies from your employee health department is an option if you’re having difficulty locating certifications and vaccinations.
3. Compact License
Is your state included in the Enhanced Nursing Compact License? If so, you should consider applying for a compact license. You can broaden your horizons and increase your odds of landing that excellent paying travel assignment by taking advantage of your ENCL. Many agencies will reimburse you for the out of pocket cost.
4. Set up a personal email for traveling
Sign up for a new email account and make it your “All Things Nursing” email address. Title folders with the month and year then drop all your agencies communications in that folder for each contract. I recommend setting up a folder with the name of your facility as you can maintain all your hospital-specific onboarding and communication in one location.
Don’t forget to check your email every day and keep the email address professional (example: JohnDoeRN@outlook.com).
5. Set up a furnished finders account.
Furnishedfinders.com is going to be your go-to hub for travel nursing housing. Browse around and check out locations you’d be interested in traveling. You will gain a better understanding of the cost of living for each area.
6. Check out the job boards
Gypsy nurse on Facebook is an excellent source for available positions and pay rates. I’d recommend before contacting any of the countless recruiters, do your homework. Head on over to the agency’s primary web site. Take a peek at the insurance coverage, tuition reimbursement, 401k plans, and if a company is willing to upfront some of your moving costs. Some companies offer services in which they will pay the upfront expenses (i.e., security deposits, first and last months rent) and withdrawal the sum over numerous paychecks. If you’re a travel team, don’t forget about referral bonuses $$$.
Be selective with disclosing your information with travel nursing agencies. Research two or three companies you feel would be a fit for your traveling goals. Inquiring with numerous agencies results in an overloaded inbox accompanied by phone calls day and night. After talking with your new recruiter over the phone, I usually inform my recruiter that email communication is the preferred means of contact. Doing so can also help prevent any “he said she said” incidents when it comes time to sign a contract.
Oh yeah, one last thing...
Getting to signing the dotted line can be stressful but keep an open mind to locations, plan, stay organized, and ask the right questions. Travel nursing is all about the “hurry up and wait,” so stay positive and know your next adventure is right around the corner. Safe travels!